Ukraine war: 'There is no family now' - mother-of-nine's eldest son fighting on same frontline her husband died on
Maryna Berlizova is sitting on her low bed, a photo of her youngest daughter taped to the wardrobe and a pram in the corner, overflowing with baby clothes. She is absent-mindedly stroking her tummy and looking out the window of her mother-in-law's small three-bedroom house she now shares with her children. In a few weeks' time the mother-of-nine will become a mother-of-10; her baby daughter will be born into a large family but without a father - her husband, Yurii, was killed near Kharkiv on 24 February, the first day of the Russian invasion, the day "everything turned upside down". "In our free time we always went to the river for barbecues, everywhere with the children - to the zoo, everywhere. "We spent all our time as a family you know, we lived well. Her grief is immediate and uncontrolled; she sobs between sentences and glances regularly at a photograph of her husband in military uniform, as if looking to him for comfort and support. "He was a good man, he was a kind man, responsible. "He was a sports instructor in the brigade, they went to competitions. "We are proud [of him], but it does not make it easier for us.
"Who needs this war? How many children died? Families are simply destroyed, just ruined. "He didn't even have time to take us out of the city. "He said in our last conversation: 'I will be back when the war is over'. With horrendous coincidence, her eldest son is now fighting on the same frontline her husband died on. "He is only 20 years old, he still doesn't know anything, he is still a child," she said. "I am very afraid for him, I am terribly afraid. "I tried to take him out of the army because of this situation, to help us at home but it is not possible. The bedroom door is firmly closed, the children are playing elsewhere. "Everyone is afraid to cry, so as not to upset the others.
I asked her about the Russians, the soldiers who killed her husband. "They came to our land to destroy our plans for the future, to destroy families. Subscribe to Ukraine War Diaries on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and Spreaker "I do not know for what purpose they are here and how many more must die to end this war. "Where will we go next if suddenly they come here? How much longer will we run? Where do we go next?" Read more:Weapons running out on southern frontline that has barely moved in weeks'My child has gone… but he died a hero and I'm proud of him for that'The weapons being used by Ukrainians to fight Russian forces - and the arms they are asking for Yurii is buried nearby, laid to rest in the village he grew up, in a peaceful corner of rural Ukraine. "You'll find his grave, you'll know which one he is," Maryna tells us as we say goodbye. Overflowing with flowers and with a photo of him posing proudly in uniform is the final resting place of Senior Sargent Yurii Berlizov: soldier, husband, father; one of the first to be killed in this horrific war, one of the first of thousands.
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